As China has stepped up its efforts to protect its giant panda population in recent years, it’s also increasingly recognized the animal’s value as a political tool and tourist attraction (just don’t mention their possible European ancestry). Tours of the bears’ protected habitats in China’s western Sichuan Province have been common for some time, but now Airbnb is looking to go one step further by offering the chance to “live with” the creatures.
Last year, Airbnb announced a partnership with the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. To date, that’s mostly meant that the global accommodation company has offered “experiences” at the Base, but yesterday they unveiled the latest development in the cooperation deal: the design of a “panda house” that will sit inside the conservation area, allowing guests to stay the night among the bears and the bamboo.
According to a video released on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, the 500 sqm building is designed to look like “a cute pixelated panda laying on the ground.”
Airbnb’s panda house design
Inside, the house will feature interior design “with no sharp angles” reflecting the renowned roundness of giant pandas, and “green, sustainable” design elements. Airbnb say it’ll also allow guests to “watch [pandas] enjoy the food and engage in [their] usual daily activities.”
Oh, and there’ll be a panda-themed slide and ball pit area for kids. Because why not?
Inside Airbnb’s proposed panda house
So when can you move in? Well, the house is due to be completed next year, according to a statement, but the “Only on Airbnb” experience won’t be available for booking until 2021. That is, assuming there’s no backlash similar to that which met Airbnb’s attempt to offer a glamping trip on the Great Wall.